More on this-
Mets' Floyd having problems with kidneys, but has to wait for diagnosis
BY DAVID LENNON
March 9, 2006
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The memory that haunts Cliff Floyd most about his dad's battle with kidney disease is how rapidly he was transformed by the illness. Now the Mets' outfielder is worried that the same thing could be happening to him.
Floyd is scheduled for an ultrasound of his kidneys today after a team physical revealed above-normal creatinine and blood urea-nitrogen levels - two early indicators of renal failure. Floyd won't know the results until Wednesday, when he returns to see a local specialist. But he's already developed high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two more genetic markers from his father, and Floyd said there is blood in his urine. The doctor also warned him yesterday that it's time to make significant changes in his diet.
"When you really go in there and see what's going on, you have to ask yourself: Do you want to live or do you want to die? It's up to you," a shaken Floyd said upon returning from his morning appointment. "Could it be serious? Well, listening to [the doctor], yeah. Am I at the point where I'm on dialysis? No. But the percentages she gave me, it does cause some concern.
"Something's going on. And we're going to find out exactly what it is that has my percentages not where they should be."
Floyd said he was told his kidneys are operating at 48-percent efficiency, and while that number does not put him in danger at the moment, any further slide could be serious.
Dr. Miriam Chung, a nephrologist at Bronx Lebanon Hospital, said that patients who dip below 20 are potential candidates for a kidney transplant. Once they reach the 10-15 range, Dr. Chung said, dialysis is necessary. That's why Floyd must discover what is impairing his kidney function, and the ultrasound, along with more extensive blood tests, is the next step.
The doctor can determine from the ultrasound if there is a blockage or if the kidney has atrophied. But if the kidney is normal in size, Dr. Chung said, a biopsy may be necessary. "I think with any kidney disease, it's important to find out why they are having the failure," Dr. Chung said. "You basically need to know to determine the correct management plan."
Floyd must now wait for a diagnosis, and that can often be the most difficult part. It happened that way for his father, Cornelius, who had no idea how sick he actually was while the disease ravaged his kidneys.
"All of a sudden, he started deteriorating, right in front of our eyes," Floyd said. "It was unbelievable. My dad's eyes started swelling. His legs started swelling. You can't digest your food, so his breath was horrendous."
Floyd was only 13 at the time, and when his dad reached a critical stage, he somehow drove him to the hospital, though he had yet to possess a learner's permit. Floyd sped to the emergency room, and his father was connected to the dialysis machine that saved his life. Cornelius was only 35 years old when the disease struck. Two years later, he received a kidney transplant and is now doing fine.
In talking about his situation, Floyd, 33, mentioned Darryl Kile, who died of a heart attack at the same age, and Monday's passing of Kirby Puckett, who was felled by a massive stroke at 45. Floyd said he felt OK yesterday, and plans to keep playing until Wednesday's follow-up appointment. But he can't pretend like everything's fine, either. Not with the medical evidence he's been confronted with.
"When she told me that 75 percent of your body functions can fail, that scared the -- out of me," Floyd said. "You could be sitting at home thinking you're fine and you could be getting sicker by the minute. Unfortunately, the one thing about kidneys is you don't know until a week before dialysis that you need dialysis."
In the meantime, Floyd is adhering to his doctor's orders. No more salt, no fast food and no soda. Floyd is back on anti-inflammatory medication to help his throwing shoulder get through the rigors of spring training, but that can be damaging to the kidneys, too.
"More times than not, doctors think because you're a big guy everything's cool," Floyd said. "But talking to the doctor, she said that's not the case. Things aren't normal. They're off."